Squad age profiles: Premier League, 2016/17

Continuing today’s onslaught of end-of-season graphics for the Premier League, here’s an updated version of the squad age profile graphic.

These are intended to give a quick visual overview of the age of players that each club has fielded in league matches using a technique very similar to “population pyramid” graphs, although I’ll freely admit that they’ve come out with shades of the Rorschach test (or as someone observed on Twitter, the Habitat lighting range).


Hopefully they’re fairly self-explanatory, but here’s a quick summary anyway:

For each club I’ve added up all the league minutes played by every player this season and calculated the percentage accumulated by players of every age, rolling up “18 and under” and “35 and over” for neatness’ sake.

Each vertical “step” on a club’s chart is a year, with the major age milestones denoted by slightly thicker lines (as per the labels on the left). The width of the coloured graph at each step corresponds to the percentage of minutes accounted for by players of that age.

I haven’t labelled the percentage values as the graphs were already getting pretty busy and I figured that the general shape and proportions were sufficient to compare teams against each other. I may revisit this (and a few other tweaks) later in the season once I’ve done a bit more tinkering.

I’ve also calculated the average age of each club’s starting line-ups this season and used this to sort all the clubs in a division from oldest to youngest.

Hopefully that’s enough to give you the idea, so let’s dive in.

Four of the top six clubs this season fielded one of the six youngest average line-ups, with Tottenham‘s the youngest of all and the only one under 26. Spurs gave just 1.1% of their playing minutes to players aged 30 or over – the lowest in the division.

In contrast Man City were the only club in the top flight to give more than half of their playing minutes (54.1%) to players aged 30 or over. Their usage graph shows a huge spike at 31 years old in particular.

Liverpool were the only team not to deploy a player over the age of 31 this season, while Crystal Palace were alone in not fielding anyone under the age of 21.